I write six days a week, four hours a day. I’m putting together a portfolio for when I move out to L.A. next year. I’ve finished a musical comedy, am in the middle of a comedy drama, and have two children’s films outlined and in the queue. (One of which I’ve already written as a 35,000 word children’s novel.) So I’m on a surprisingly strict writing schedule considering I have no “real” deadlines.
My question to you is: Do your hands hurt?
Mine definitely ache. I stretch and ice them and beg for hand massages from friends and loved ones. I take ibuprofen, etc. I’m trying to determine if this is normal or if I should be freaking out?
Athletes live with a certain amount of pain for what they love. Same for professional writers?
Do you do anything special to take care of your hands?
— Asher Noël
Take it seriously. I’ve had problems in the past, and regretted waiting as long as I did to do something about it.
At my worst, not only would my hands hurt, my arms would go dead every night. Beyond pins-and-needles. I’d wake up with zombie appendages attached to my body. I’d have to flop over to get blood flowing into them.
I’m better now.
A Google search on ergonomics or carpal tunnel syndrome will give you a ton of information — too much information, probably — but I can synthesize it down for you thusly:
You need to check your setup. Feet on the floor, arms at a comfortable 90-or-so degrees. I strongly believe in arm rests, but different things work for different people. Your typing surface probably needs to be a lot lower than you think. My desk lowers to just two inches above my knees. Everyone has different opinions on chairs. I’ve found the expensive ones aren’t necessarily better. Try a bunch.
You need to change your keyboard. I use this one, which rightfully scares people, but I find works great. You may need to try a bunch of different ergonomic keyboards before you find one that works.
You need to take breaks. A lot of them. Walk around. You’ll actually get more done if you’re not staring at the screen the whole time.
Like crutches, gloves can help, but they’re not fixing the problem. These Handeze support gloves saved my life, but I’m happy not to need them now.
When it was really bad, I considered surgery. I’m glad I didn’t do it. I didn’t need it.
You won’t always be writing as much as you are now. But try to get into good habits now.